During the holiday season, seniors often reminisce about Christmases past, while cherishing current family gatherings. For some, though, health conditions and living arrangements can impact festivities. COVID-19 will present challenges this year, too.

“Coronavirus can’t stop Christmas! We’ve planned safe events to make the holidays merry for all our residents,” says Linda Bunker, ADC, Activities Director for Heritage Manor Nursing Home and Southgate special-care residence. “Team members will be caroling through the residences. On Christmas eve and Christmas day, they will don festive attire to deliver gifts donated by Christian Health Care Center (CCHC) staff through our adopt-a-resident program.”

A tree lighting and safely seated Christmas brunch are on the calendar at The Longview Assisted Living Residence. Memories and mementos will be shared during “A Celebration of Christmas Around the World” at Hillcrest, Christian Health Care Center’s (CHCC) pre-assisted living residence.

Special, safe activities are also planned for CHCC’s independent seniors, but they also pay it forward. Residents of Evergreen Court in Wyckoff, and Siena Village and Summer Hill in Wayne traditionally participate in CHCC’s Christmas toy drive for children in need in our area.

“Their hope is to make Christmas a little brighter for underprivileged children in our community,” says Laura Koblitz, Resident Director Siena Village and Summer Hill.

Whether your loved one resides at CHCC or in the community, here are some suggestions to make their holidays merry during the pandemic.

  • Play Christmas music and decorate your loved one’s living space to create a festive atmosphere.
  • Ask him/her to tell stories of past holiday celebrations. Write the memories in a journal as a keepsake for future generations.
  • On his/her behalf, offer to shop for and wrap Christmas gifts, and write and send holiday cards.
  • Outfit him/her in a colorful Christmas sweater.
  • Organize a holiday craft session based on ability.
  • Plan a digital celebration with out-of-state family and friends via FaceTime, Zoom, etc.
  • Diet-permitting, bake a batch of your loved one’s favorite holiday cookies for him/her to enjoy.
  • Watch a classic holiday movie together.